Leon Bridges Live: Better than a ‘Good Thing’
By: Ella Hopkins-Bryan
Photo by Ella Hopkins-Bryan
Leon Bridges headlined CityFolk’s main stage Saturday night, September 14th. Crowds of fans gathered to sing, dance and relish in his smooth, buttery, R&B voice; and I was one of them.
Since his debut in 2015 with the release of “Coming Home”, Bridges has topped the Billboard charts, earned Grammy nominations, collaborated with major industry stars and received widespread critical acclaim. Initially, his style was narrowly defined as 1960’s crooner, but with the release of “Good Thing”, his second album, he has experimented with different sounds, beats and eras, breaking beyond nostalgia to a more expansive, timeless and vibrant vibe.
For Saturday night's performance, Bridges was backed by a big bevy of talented musicians whose abilities were showcased frequently throughout the evening. Although no doubt heavily rehearsed, they created a feeling of creative improv, spontaneity and fun on stage. Bridges started his career as a dancer and his moves contributed integrally to that energy.
At the end of the day though, it was Leon Bridges’ spectacular voice that we all came to hear. While the musical meanderings of the band were impeccably performed and Bridges’ dancing was show-worthy in itself, we yearned for more of that iconic voice. And as the night progressed, he delivered with more vocals. The more he sang, the more the crowd responded and by the end of the night, everyone was with him. We sang along with him, danced with him and were transported by his raw talent.
A Leon Bridges show doesn’t lean on pyrotechnics, dry ice or wild special effects because the special effects in this show is the music - specifically that incredible voice. It stays with you in the best possible way.
Bridges’ music is intelligent and interesting and it was impeccably performed. All in all, seeing Bridges live was not only a ‘Good Thing’...it was a GREAT thing!
Local Music Spotlight: Amnita
By: Patrick Pearson
A picture of the band from last November
Amnita is a local four piece dream pop band. Formerly known as “Nighttime In Kansas”, the band released their debut EP, Solstice, in 2016 and their sophomore release No Shame In Letting Go (my personal favourite) two years later. Since then, they have released two singles, “Better Off Feeling Alone” and “Control”, suggesting that they have a full release coming soon.
The band has a very refined sound, combining dream pop, shoegaze, post rock, 90s midwest emo, and indie rock, adding their own touch to it all while still maintaining the familiarity of their influences. Their sound can be described as spacey, consuming, and fluid. The drums punch through the dreamy melodies created by the guitars and synths, creating a strong, danceable rhythm. The soft vocals add a nice glaze to their sound and tie it all together. Their intimate, poetic lyrics complement the atmosphere. They also play with instrumentation creatively and the experimentation pays off (a notable example being the saxophone part in “4-16”). They effectively display these attributes in their energetic and impassioned live shows. They are incredibly tight for a band that is so airy. Parallels can be drawn between their music and bands like Turnover and American Football.
Their most recent single, “Control”, is a bit of a change in pace for them. It borrows a bit more from their indie and pop influences, but still retains the essence and authenticity of their sound. The lyrics are powerful, dealing with being on the receiving end of toxicity from someone whom the narrator deeply cares for. The title of the song references how this abusive behaviour is being used to manipulate the narrator. The lyrics effectively convey the highly emotional nature of the subject matter. However, the mood of the song contrasts with the lyrics to create an interesting effect. The square drums, cascading synthesizers, and snappy guitar come together to make a full, lush sound. You can listen to it here: https://amnita.bandcamp.com/releases
Local Music Spotlight: Liquid Assets
By: Patrick Pearson
Liquid Assets are an Ottawa punk band. Made up of members of bands including Doxx, Torpor, and No Blues, they have been a part of the Ottawa scene for about a year. They are going to be releasing a full 7” EP soon on Schizophrenic Records, titled “SNC Lava Lamp: The Return of the Liquid Assets of Ottawa”. Yes. That is what it is called. They are touring in support of its release December 12th-15th in Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton, and Toronto with other bands like Faze, The World Health Organization, and Spirit Cry.
Liquid Assets’ sound can be described, frankly, as blunt. They get straight to the point, without utilizing much fancy, superficial instrumentation. All their songs are short and their sound is stripped down, but they still have the chops to make up for it. Their songs are short, fast, and bratty. Felix Lahbabi-Ganger’s vocals are spitted and grimy, barely resembling English. Their riffs are catchy and they smoothly alternate between loose and tight parts, creating an exciting effect through emphasization. The band is silly, which reaches through to both their sound and their live performances. Lahbabi-Granger deploys a different pair of sunglasses each gig, and they always invite an audience member for improvised vocals. But they don’t rely on shenanigans. They back everything up with strong instrumentation and a unique sound.
You can listen to them here (https://liquidassets.bandcamp.com/releases) and keep an eye out for their debut EP coming soon.
Our Monthly Contributor; Pat Pearson on the Local Music Scene in Ottawa
By: Anna Berglas
Music is Vulnerability.
Patrick Pearson is a seventeen year old student completing his final year at Nepean. Not only has he been involved in the local Ottawa music scene for four years, Pat also plays in his own band, Bug Bites, and has recently released an instrumental solo demo called Let Me Lead You Nowhere.
In order to get a fuller understanding of our monthly contributor, we asked him a few questions.
What instruments does he play?
Pat plays a large variety of instruments- mainly drums and guitar, but also piano, mandolin, xylophone, and ukulele.
What inspired his interest in the local music scene?
Pat’s father introduced him to the various shows in Ottawa.
As Pat states, “I’ve always been really passionate about it, and I’ve always been really connected with musicians. I found a community and group of people I can really connect with.”
What is his preferred music scene?
The most important aspect, Pat says, is that songs and bands have an emotionally strong pull. Pat enjoys many genres, from hard core punk to emo, indie rock, and low-fi.
“There’s a lot of heavier stuff”, Pat comments, “that is meant to be played live, to have that dynamic going on between the audience and musician”.
He continues by stressing the uniqueness of these live events. The community has a rare bond, a shared emotional connection that is hard to replicate outside of music, and feels “almost spiritual”.
“It’s really hard for people to come together. In society these days, we’re really disconnected from each other, so it means a lot when people can come together, even for one night, and enjoy something together.”
Does Pat currently have any ongoing music projects?
Pat is involved with a group named Bug Bites, a ‘loosely hard core punk’ band. They have just released a demo called Let me Lead You Nowhere.
“We take influence from bands like Christian Death, and darker post punk bands while retaining a hardcore and punk influence like guitar and rhythm”.
Pat’s band discusses a number of topics pertinent to today's society, from race to mental health. But incorporating charged topics into music isn’t always easy.
“Many issues are normalized to this extent, and has a very aesthetic purpose so it’s important to portray it in an honest way.”
He describes the process of presenting his art as “Vulnerable. That’s really important” as well as, “Honest, uncompromising, truthful”.
“It’s scary to get up there and say ‘this is me.’”
In addition, Pat is working on a solo project, Ghost Stories. It consists of mostly guitar, with a couple of auxiliary. Pat describes his music as “Low-fi, shoe-gazy, with influences from American Football and This Town Needs Guns”.
How can we help support these artists?
“Pay attention to what’s going on in the local scene”, Patrick advises. “Say hi to people, make friends.” Shows are as accessible as possible to everyone, and is a welcoming environment which is full of joy.
When Pat went to his first show, he met youth like him that are now his best friends. The connections and relations Pat made are central to his life -- and by playing an active role in the community, everyone has an opportunity to be impacted.
Does Pat have a message for any aspiring musicians here at Nepean?
“Put yourself out there!” Pat says. “The world will not be a worse place with more music. You can’t get any better if you don’t accept the fact that no one starts out as a great musician -- you become a great musician”.
“The best thing is if you want to start a band, there’s no one stopping you for going out and doing that.”
In terms of artistic advice, Patrick comments, “You need to be open to take influence from others. The community here fosters growth, and invites growth.” If you’re a young and aspiring musician, the scene here in Ottawa is the perfect place to start.
Crack up your speaker and get to work.
The ULTIMATE 2019 study playlist.
By: Nada Abu-Farha
“xanny” -Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish is the perfect artist to “vibe” to while you’re studying for a test, doing homework, or working on an important assignment. This song is a great combination of chill vibes as well as a relaxing mood for prime study time!
“Streetcar” -Daniel Caesar
This song is perfect for those days where you really, really don’t want to study, but at the same time… you really, really want to pass highschool. It puts you in a good mindset to sit and block out any other distractions you may have.
“Apocalypse” -Cigarettes After Sex
“Apocalypse” is one of those songs that calms you down effortlessly. This is extremely effective. It allows you to continue focusing on your homework, without getting distracted by loud, upbeat music.
“2009” -Mac Miller
The upbeat, yet calming beat this song incorporates creates the perfect song to play in the background while writing an essay, making a slideshow presentation, or finishing up your physics lab 5 minutes before it’s due.
“Jump Out the Window” -Big Sean
The lyrics: “I think I’m ready to jump out the window” is a mood we all have while doing homework for that one class we hate. Big Sean’s lyrics in this song are very relatable when you’re studying. This makes this song the perfect contribution to your study playlist.
“rock + roll” -EDEN
Light a candle, open a window, grab a snack, play “rock + roll” by EDEN, and get working. It’ll make you feel laid back and relaxed while being very productive.
Now that you have the ULTIMATE study playlist to vibe and jam out to while doing something we all dread, but have to do; you’re all set!
An Introduction into a Nepean Student Band
By: Quinn Beneteau
Voyager IV is a band featuring four musical nepean students. I had the pleasure of meeting up with Meera Thomas, Kenny Hammond, Ian Skinner and Max Pytura on Friday, September 13th to discuss their band, what they do, and what they would like to share with the school.
All four members of Voyager IV also contribute to the school’s bands as well. All four are band members in the Nepean High School Senior Jazz Band and Wind Ensemble.
Meera is Voyager IV’s lead singer and piano player, Kenny is their bass player, Ian is their drummer, and Max is their guitarist.
“[The name] Voyager IV came out of our first serious gig.” Says Meera when prompted, “Max wanted the name ‘Voyager’ in the title of the band, but we wanted something that implemented the four of us. Ian said ‘four’ and we just sort of went with it".
Before a gig, the four of them will get together around once a week in order to get ready for the show. They try and find gigs around the city, and are looking forward to doing more outside, and inside the school, so keep those ears out!
Voyager IV has a fun time at every meeting and are close friends as well as band members. They want Nepean to know that making a band can be a fun experience, and if you have doubts, just go for it.
You may have already seen Voyager IV at Coffee House, and each member of the band individually in school concerts.
GINGER: Album Review
Music is one of the most important things in many people's lives, impacting and influencing the world around them, including our very own Nepean High School. Nepean is filled with people who come from varying cultures and backgrounds and music is one thing that brings everyone together.
One of the newer bands to the music industry, BROCKHAMPTON, is a self-proclaimed boy band made up of distinctly diverse artists coming together to create music and short films. Starting to create together in 2015, the American rap collective has come a long way since their debut on the music scene with their first single, “BET I”. Since then, their popularity has skyrocketed, and they have been nominated for Best International Group at the BRIT awards and for Outstanding Music Artist for their 2018 album, iridescence, at the GLAAD Media Awards.
GINGER, the most recent album produced by BROCKHAMPTON, released in late August, is chock full of contrasting emotions conveyed through the music and lyrics throughout the 12 tracks on the album. The first song off the album, “NO HALO”, is without a doubt one of the better songs on the album. Its mix of acoustic guitar and high vocals with rapid verses fit like a glove and leaves you full of satisfaction. “DEARLY DEPARTED” is a song about remembrance and mourning of loved ones who have drifted away from us one way or another and about how to find that missing piece after that person is gone. It is a beautiful song filled with emotion and is an extremely powerful song. The title track “GINGER” is a beautiful song that includes a soft melody and strong lyrics to create a feeling of balance. “LOVE ME FOR LIFE” has a solid melody with strong lyrics and flow that has something very unique about it. Last but not least, “VICTOR ROBERTS” is the last track and one of the most defining tracks on the album. The anecdote from Victor Roberts brings us back to reality and supports the soft and gentle chorus. It’s a beautiful song that makes you think and gives closure to the album.
A schooltime soundtrack
By: Sophie Jones
Back to school season is a tough transition for most. As us students reminisce on happy, duty free, scorching summer days with friends, we’re quickly snapped back into the unfortunate reality of prioritizing, school, homework, extracurriculars and jobs.
Especially for us entering grade 11, returning to school anticipating the year which “counts the most” for our entire educational career is not an enjoyable thing to think of.
However, one thing which has constantly motivated me to get up in the morning and get ready, is music! Music has been a constant influence on my mood, personality, sense of style and view of the world around me.
Rather than making a usual “study playlist”, which would associate all songs with the stress of homework, I have made a “soundtrack” for all the moments in between the stress and anxiety.
The songs I chose for this playlist are based from some favourite movies of mine including; Juno, Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Napoleon Dynamite, The Breakfast Club, and others.
All of these movies have the same basis; your semi-average (so we call it) teens attending school, trying to live their greatest lives possible. For some, this task is more difficult than others, but at the end they all manage to find some form of happiness through whatever bad they may experience.
These films expose the harsh realities of life for all different types of teenagers, yet manages to knit blissful, euphoric music throughout the moments in which the movie characters were enjoying their lives the most.
For us students, this music is meant for those delightful, confusing, upsetting and exhilarating moments sprinkled throughout the strain of schoolwork, like walking on a crisp morning in your brand new jeans and a big fall coat, jokes from across the classroom, and biking home from a friends place, down dark streets littered with fall colours.
This playlist reminisces on fun summer nights, but looks forward to reliving and creating new memories at school. It features artists such as the kinks, BØRNS, jack johnson, and some new summertime features, inclusive of something for everyone.
Back to school soundtrack: